C. M. KING, of Hardy, is a native of Tennessee, his birth having there occurred on the 17th of November, 1844. His parents, James and Marian (Hereford) King, were likewise natives of that state, where the father successfully carried on farming until 1848, when he came with his family to Texas, settling in Van Zandt county in May of that year. There he bought land and improved a farm, on which he remained until 1865, when the came to Cooke county, making his home with his sons, C. M. King, and his brother. Here he resided until his death, October 10, 1878, when he was seventy-four years of age. He came to Texas when it was largely a wild and unimproved district, giving little promise of rapid or substantial development, but he lived to see many changes and rejoiced in what was accomplished by the state. His wife passed away in December, 1878, at the age of seventy-one years. She was a member of the Presbyterian church. In their family were five children: James, who died while serving in the Confederate army; William R., who died in 1885; John, who was a soldier of the southern army; Christopher M., of this review; and Buena Vista, the wife of C. Loring.
Christopher M. King, better known as Kit, accompanied his parents on their removal to Texas when only four years of age and was therefore reared in this state, remaining under the father’s roof until 1863, when at the age of nineteen years he enlisted as a member of Company H, Seventeenth Texas Infantry, commanded by Colonel Tucker. The regiment was attached to the Trans-Mississippi Department in General Taylor’s command, and was in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. Mr. King was in a number of skirmishes and important battles, including the engagement at Mansfield, but was never captured nor wounded. He knew, however, all about the hardships, privations and exposure of war, having the usual experiences of the soldier. He was at Richmond, Texas, when Lee surrendered and the command disbanded, the men returning to their respective homes.
Mr. King then resumed farming and soon afterward the family removed to Cooke county, where he and his brother John purchased four hundred and eighty acres of land from the Jacob Wilcox survey. This they transformed into a good farm, making a home for their parents in their declining years. Mr. King here successfully carried on general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising until after the death of his father on the 10th of October, 1878. Only a brief period elapsed when his brother John died, passing away December 26, 1879, and the mother died in December, 1878. Subsequently Mr. King and his brother’s widow carried out the plans arranged by them during the life time of John King. They divided the farm and all the interests and each remained on their respective portions. Mr. King, of this review, still owns his farm, which he now rents, and which he successfully cultivated until 1897, when he bought the farm where he now resides, becoming owner of seventy acres of well improved land, which he intends to devote to fruit culture, raising apples, peaches, pears, grapes and small fruits. The soil is particularly well adapted to this purpose and he now has ten acres in fruit. There are over eight hundred apple trees and other fruit in proportion and Mr. King is meeting with a creditable measure of prosperity in this work. When he and his brother came to the farm they had a fine herd of cattle but in later years he gave his attention more largely to general agricultural pursuits, raising wheat, oats and other crops.
Mr. King was married first in Cooke county to Miss Fannie Williams, who was born there in 1855 and represents one of its old pioneer families. Her father was John Williams, who from early boyhood was reared in Grayson county. He served throughout the Mexican war and became a pioneer settler and prominent farmer and horseman of Cooke county. He helped to rid the country of wild beasts and of the treacherous Indian and to make possible the settlement of the white race in this locality. On selling out in Cooke county he removed to Montague county, where he purchased a small farm, while later he made his home with his daughter, Mrs. King. When visiting her half-brother he died at his home. His children were: Molly, Marzee, Laura, Mrs. Fannie King, Florence and Eva.
Mr. and Mrs. King became the parents of two children: Mrs. Fannie V. Lucas and Mrs. Dove Reddling. The mother died in May, 1885. She was a member of the Christian church and a most estimable lady. In 1891 Mr. King wedded Miss Mattie Allen, and they had two children, Clay and May, both at home. The mother passed away in 1889, in the faith of the Methodist church. His third wife was Nancy C., daughter of Rev. W. C. Cummins, a pioneer Baptist minister of Fannin county, yet living at the advanced age of eighty years. She belonged to the Baptist church and died February 17, 1896. For his fourth wife Mr. King married Mrs. Belle Meek, widow of Robert Meek, of Mississippi. He was a farmer of Texas, greatly respected, and he died in January, 1884, leaving four children: Samuel, William, Walter and Maud. Mrs. King was a daughter of Clinton D. and Ellen (Jones) Williams, of Kentucky, who removed to Missouri and in 1865 came to Texas. Mr. Williams served as a soldier of the Confederacy and on coming to this state settled in Fannin county, whence he later went to Wise county and there purchased a farm. Subsequently he settled in Montague county, where he died in February, 1902. His widow yet survives, living with a son in Wise county. Their children were: Samuel, who died in 1885; Mary; Mrs. Belle King; and James W., of Bridgeport, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. King have an interesting little son, Thomas J., born September 17, 1903.
Mr. King has had most interesting experiences, some of which have been of a dangerous nature, for when he came to Texas all was wild and unimproved. The red men terrorized the country, stole much stock and killed many settlers, so that Mr. King and his neighbors made many raids against them. He was also in some fights with them but was never wounded. He boasts of running a band of one hundred and sixty Indians, something that few others have done, and he thus saved his entire herd of horses. He discovered a large number of Indians coming in the direction of his herd and having a fine saddle horse he advanced toward the tribe, who started in pursuit of him and thus he swerved them form their course and saved his stock. After running several miles he managed to elude his pursuits and returned to his home. In politics he is a Democrat, and is a member of the Christian church. His life has indeed been an eventful one and if written in detail of his history would present a splendid picture of pioneer days.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 702-703.